The third and decisive ODI between West Indies and Bangladesh turned out to be a high-scoring affair, and Bangladesh held on to clinch an 18-run win to take the series.
Tamim Iqbal, who had scored 130* to lead Bangladesh to victory in the first ODI, had carried his good form into the second game, scoring 54 but failing to prevent a West Indies win as Jason Holder sent in a stunning last over. But he was back in charge in the final fixture, his 103 helping Bangladesh get to 301/6 before the bowlers kept West Indies to 283/6.
“I think the patience that I showed in the first, second and third match makes me happy as it proved that my hard work paid off,” said Iqbal after the series win. “It’s not easy to bat here in the West Indies because you need to spend a lot of time. My team asked me to bat long; this was the plan and so patience was the key.”
He certainly showed exemplary patience, his scoring rate of 83.06 in the third game his quickest innings. In fact, the century in the first game was the slowest by a Bangladeshi in ODIs.
Iqbal wasn’t the only star for Bangladesh. Shakib Al Hasan has been in super batting form too, and in the last game, Mahmudullah slammed an unbeaten 67 in 49 balls to lift the Bangladesh score, with Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, chipping in with a crucial 36 from 25 balls.
Mortaza was also the most successful bowler, across sides, in the three-match series, with seven strikes.
“I think we needed this win desperately if you consider our performance during the last couple of months,” said Mortaza. “Cricket is a mental game. We lost the last ODI, and that too after having the game in our bag for 99 overs, but today I think it was a professional performance from the boys. The boys are in good touch.”
The big defeats in the Tests – by an innings and 219 runs and by 166 runs – had hurt Bangladesh, understandably, and they wanted to prove themselves in the ODIs, said Iqbal.
“We all came here with high hopes but failed to deliver in the Test series,” he said. “Personally, I did not do well in the Tests but in West Indies you need to have that patience because the wicket in Guyana was difficult as it was seaming and spinning. So you need to take your time and settle down before playing your shots.”
Job done in the ODIs, it’s over to the three T20Is now, but Mortaza wants to keep an eye on the past and try to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated. There are big areas of concern, clearly.
“I don’t think winning the series is everything because we still have a lot of areas to work on. We need to work on our fielding. Tamim, Shakib and Mushy (Mushfiqur Rahim) played really well. Now the juniors have to step up and take responsibility.”